Covid-19

Chryssi Giannitsarou, Flavio Toxvaerd, 12 July 2020

We do not yet know whether individuals who recover from COVID-19 can be reinfected. If immunity wanes, the disease will become endemic, in sharp contrast to a model in which recovery confers permanent immunity. This column considers the possibility that immunity is indeed only temporary, and derives a stylised optimal containment policy to reduce the initial wave of contagion and then manage persistent infections. In practice, this means that partial lockdowns and social distancing measures may be the norm for years to come. 

Filippo di Mauro, 10 July 2020

In the recovery from Covid-19 we urgently need to boost productivity. But which policies move the needle? Filippo di Mauro tells Tim Phillips about what CompNet's firm-level productivity data tells us about both the problem and the solution.

Diane Coyle, David Nguyen, 10 July 2020

Consumer spending patterns changed substantially during lockdown in the UK, as in other countries, with online consumption in general increasing. This column uses findings from a survey of the UK online population conducted before lockdown in late February 2020 and again in May to reveal some large and significant changes in the valuations of goods and services, with some large differences by age and gender. The lockdown has acted as a natural experiment testing the extent to which digital goods and physical goods are substitutes. The changes in valuation may indicate which services will be most valuable, and to which groups, in a post-pandemic world where more activity takes place online. 

Christos Makridis, Jonathan Rothwell, 10 July 2020

There is significant dispersion in beliefs about the pandemic and its economic implications. This column uses new high-frequency and nationally representative data to document the overwhelming importance of political affiliation as a determinant of these beliefs and the adverse effects of partisanship on local economic activity. In the US, Republicans are significantly less worried about COVID-19 and less likely to expect a long-term disruption due to the virus. These results suggest that the macroeconomic effects of the pandemic on consumption may depend on behavioural factors, like political affiliation.

Henrik Müller, Nico Hornig, 10 July 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has spread massive economic uncertainty. But popular indicators were rather late in showing the size of the impact. To gauge the severity of future shocks in a timelier fashion, this column proposes a new taxonomy of economic uncertainty and an approach to measure it. In this vein it constructs a news-based indicator called Uncertainty Perception Indicator (UPI).

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